The Google for Startups Black Founders fund, worth £1.5m has opened in the UK to address the lack of black talent in tech start-ups, after only 38 black founders received venture capital funding in the last 10 years.
Under the scheme which closes on 21 March, selected European startups in the Google for Startups network will receive $100,000 in non-dilutive cash awards and up to $220,000 per startup in Google Ad Grants.
To be eligible, tech startups need to have one or more founders that self-identify as Black and the startup must already have a product in the market.
First launched in the US during the aftermath of Black Lives Matter protests last year, the fund forms part of Google’s $175m commitment to improving economic opportunities for black entrepreneurs.
With less than one per cent of venture capital funding reaching UK black led start-ups, Google is aware of the further work needed to the gap.
According to the 2020 European State of Tech Report, 59 per cent of Black women and men experienced a form of discrimination working in the tech industry during the last 12 months.
However, Black people are split by gender when it comes to the type of discrimination faced in the workplace. On the one hand, 87 per cent of black women said their experience was due to gender, compared to only 26 per cent of black men.
Whereas, 43 per cent of black men believed their experience of discrimination was due to their nationality or ethnicity.
Head of Google for Startups UK, Marta Krupinska recognises the opportunity the pandemic presents to plan for more equal opportunities and said:
“We are in a position where we can help build a more equitable future. One where entrepreneurs are judged solely by the quality of their businesses.
“I would encourage any eligible Black-led tech startup that is curious about how Google for Startups can help them to apply for the Black Founders Fund”, Krupinska added.